Common man’s train travel set for a big facelift! Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways is in the process of executing the ambitious Project Utkrisht that aims to upgrade as many as 140 rakes of Superfast and Mail/Express trains. Conceptualised on the lines of Operation Swarn – which involves upgrading Shatabdi and Rajdhani Express trains – Project Utkrisht is a welcome step for the common man who travels mostly in Superfast and Mail/Express trains. “Under this project, we will be upgrading the interiors and exteriors of about 140 rakes to start with – which means 66 pairs of trains. Each train may have more than one rake. We have laid out the basic parameters on the basis of which the upgradation has to be done,” a Railway Ministry official told Financial Express Online. According to the official, approximately Rs 60 lakh per rake has been sanctioned and the first phase of Project Utkrisht will be completed as early as March 2019. The second phase involves upgrading another 500 rakes of Mail/Express and Superfast trains!
Project Utkrisht is mainly meant for rakes that have ICF old-design coaches. “A lot of Mail/Express trains are running on the ICF old design. The idea is to give them a facelift and to bring them to a better standard,” the official said, requesting anonymity.. A tentative list of trains has been prepared, but the final decision lies with the zonal railways. “We have empowered the zonal railways to make changes to the list if the need arises. During the process, a train on the list may get converted from ICF coaches to LHB coaches. We keep converting some trains as more LHB coaches are produced. So if a train that was identified earlier gets converted, then it doesn’t need to be upgraded,” the official told FE On,ine.
The project is different from retrofitment, as it would be carried out at the zonal depots. Several parameters have been identified by the Railway Ministry for the upgrade of these trains – from improvement in toilets, seats and berths to floor and exterior etc. We take a look at 10 salient features of the upgrade of Superfast and Mail/Express trains under Indian Railways’ Project Utkrisht:
1. On-board cleanliness: Garbage bag in dustbins in coach and toilets, regular collection of garbage from dustbins to be ensured, toilet choking to be attended to on urgent basis on the run. Dustbins will also be provided in the doorway area of all coaches.
2. In case of trains which fall under the OBHS (Onboard housekeeping service) scheme, a GPS-based biometric attendance system will be introduced and the train will be covered under Indian Railways’ ‘Clean My Coach/Coach Mitra’ initiative. For OBHS trains the janitors will be trained and the toilets will be cleaned every two hours.
3. The PVC flooring will be changed in case it is defaced or damaged. Coach panels with patches/faded sheets will be replaced with new panels. The roof will also be repaired wherever required.
4. All seats and berths with torn rexine or compresses cushioning will be replaced. For enhanced safety, fire extinguishers will be installed in all reserved coaches.
5. Good quality curtains will be provided in AC coaches and a periodic cleaning of these coaches will be ensured. Additionally, all AC coaches will have toilet occupancy indicators. Double-acting partition doors will be provided as well.
6. It will be made sure that the vestibule and vestibule door are in proper working condition. A paint touch up of all coaches will be done as well.
7. The doorway and gangway area will be given an anti-graffiti vinyl wrapping, and each coach will have LED lighting.
8. PVC flooring in toilets will be replaced with epoxy flooring to prevent water puddles. It has to be made sure that all bio-toilets and controlled-discharge toilets are in working order. Improved flushing valves will be provided as per RDSO designs.
9. LED lights will be fitted in all toilets and the provision of health faucets in all coaches will be ensured. Good quality taps and fittings will be used in the toilets and good quality soap dispensers will be fitted in AC coaches.
10. Good quality destination boards will be put on the exterior of the rakes. Pantry will gas-based cooking system will have safety certification and all equipment has to be in working condition.